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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

Also known as: NDAA of 2013; NDAA for FY 2013; NDAA for FY13; Section 827; Section 828

Barack Obama

Signed into law by Barack Obama
January 02, 2013

Section 827 of the NDAA of 2013 revised 10 U.S.C. § 2017 to protect contractors and subcontractors who disclose information that they reasonably believe evidences:

• a gross mismanagement of a DoD or NASA contract or grant;
• a gross waste of DoD or NASA funds;
• an abuse of authority relating to a DoD or NASA contract or grant;
• a violation of law, rule or regulation related to a DoD or NASA contract or grant; or
• a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.

Section 828 of the NDAA of 2013 established a four-year pilot program that extends protection to most contractors previously excluded in the past. Under the pilot program, whistleblower protections are extended to all contractors and subcontractors other than those working for the DoD, NASA, Coast Guard, or elements of the intelligence community.

Enforcement & Remedies

Under the NDAA of 2013, employees who believe they have suffered from unlawful retaliation must file a complaint with the agency’s Inspector General (“IG”). Unless the IG determines that the complaint is frivolous, fails to allege a violation, or has been previously addressed in another federal or state judicial or administrative proceeding initiated by the complainant, the IG must conduct an investigation and make a determination on the merits no later than 180 days after receipt of the complaint. The IG may request, and the complainant may grant, an extension of up to 180 additional days. Within thirty (30) days of receiving an inspector general’s investigative findings, the head of the agency must determine whether there has been a violation, in which event the agency head can award a complainant reinstatement, back pay, employment benefits, exemplary damages, and attorney fees and expenses.

If the agency denies relief or fails to issue a decision within 210 days of the filing of the complaint or thirty (30) days after the expiration of any extension, the complainant can bring a de novo action in federal court and seek a jury trial. A complainant must file in federal court within two years of exhausting his administrative remedies.

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